US troops accused of killing journalist in Iraq

Two journalists were killed in Iraq on Wednesday bring the media staff death toll in the country this year to 32, according to the International Federation of Journalists.

The news comes as new evidence emerged that US troops deliberately targeted the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad in 2003 when it was shelled by a US tank and two journalists were killed.

According to the IFJ Wissa Ali Ouda, a reporter for private television station Afaq, was reportedly shot dead by a US soldier as he was heading home in the Al-Obeidi district of Baghdad.

The group reports that the same day the body of another journalist, Haidar Hashem al-Husseini, was found in the town of Baquba. He was kidnapped on Monday.

The IFJ also reported that in Pakistan Mohammad Ibrahim, a reporter for Express TV, was killed on Wednesday after interviewing a high profile Taliban chief in the country. Unidentified gunmen allegedly shot him from close range.

The IFJ, which represents two unions of journalists in Iraq, the Iraqi Union of Journalists based in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Syndicate of Journalists, has called for a “full and independent investigation” of all killings of journalists at the hands of United States forces during the Iraq conflict must be carried out.

US website and public radio/TV programme Democracy Now! has uncovered new evidence that the Palestine Hotel, which was used as a centre for Western journalists during the US invasion, was deliberately shelled.

Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk and Jose Couso, a cameraman for the Spanish television network Telecinco, were killed in the attack.

Adriennee Kinne, a former Army sergeant working in military intelligence in Iraq, told Democracy Now: ‘ I had a very high clearance, military intelligence. And I never took notes. I never brought anything outside of our building. I never talked about my experiences with my friends or family. But there were certain things that happened over the course of our mobilization that struck me as being very wrong, and I remember them very specifically.

‘One of the instances was the fact that we were listening to journalists who were staying in the Palestine Hotel. And I remember that, specifically because during the buildup to Shock and Awe, which people in my unit were really disturbingly excited about, we were given a list of potential targets in Baghdad, and the Palestine Hotel was listed as a potential target.

‘And I remember this specifically, because, putting one and one together, that there were journalists staying at the Palestine Hotel and this hotel was listed as a potential target, I went to my officer in charge, and I told him that there are journalists staying at this hotel who think they’re safe, and yet we have this hotel listed as a potential target, and somehow the dots are not being connected here, and shouldn’t we make an effort to make sure that the right people know the situation?

‘And unfortunately, my officer in charge, similarly to any time I raised concerns about things that we were collecting or intelligence that we were reporting, basically told me that it was not my job to analyze. It was my job to collect and pass on information and that someone somewhere higher up the chain knew what they were doing.”

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